CAMPAIGNERS fighting against plans for a gypsy camp on green belt land in Meriden have marked the 100th day of their battle with a quintessentially English cup of tea and slice of cream cake.
Residents have maintained a round-the-clock vigil at Eaves Green Lane ever since the travellers arrived on on April 30.
And some say they are already preparing to eat their Christmas dinner at the site this year.
More than 30 defiant residents gathered at Camp Nancy, named after the owner of the house next to the camp, yesterday to mark the protest milestone.
Campaign organiser David McGrath said they were prepared to be there for Day 400 and beyond in order to protect the slice of scientifically important land. They are now locked in a legal battle with the gypsies who have appealed against Solihull Council’s decision to reject an application to establish a camp on the land.
“We never expected to be here after 100 days, but the more we found out about the planning process the more we realised we were in for a long, hard, expensive fight,” said Mr McGrath, chairman of RAID – Residents Against Inappropriate Development. “There’s a huge point of principle at stake whether planning protocol, consultation with residents, green belt policy matters or whether it’s just a quaint English notion that can be swept aside by bulldozers, diggers and expensive barristers.”
Fellow resident Liz Burke, aged 58, said the community had become more passionate about the campaign as the days had ticked by and were buoyed by the camaraderie as they manned the frontline into the early hours each night.
“The people here are from all walks of life but we all want to protect the same thing,” she said.
“We’ve become more determined because we know a lot more about the issues and we feel we can overcome anything.”
It could be five months for the appeal to be heard and longer before a decision is made.
RAID has raised £18,500 to fund its legal costs during the appeal but need to raise the same again.